PORTLAND, Oregon — Dozens of families marched in Southeast Portland to say, "Black Lives Matter" with their kids Tuesday evening. As they did, they were surrounded by a group of volunteer security monitors who helped regulate and alert traffic to the group's presence.
Protesters met at Sunnyside School Park on Southeast 34th Ave. and marched to Southeast Hawthorne Blvd. There, they paused to chant and wave signs at passing drivers. All the while, they were watched over by a group of security volunteers including a man who went by the name, Yeti. He was riding a bicycle and dressed in brightly colored clothes and safety gear.
"I'm out here to make sure that those who want to come out and exercise their First Amendment rights and their rights to protest are out here doing it safely," said Yeti. “Our goal is to keep all these kids safe."
The security detail was a first for the regularly scheduled Black Lives Matter kids protest, because of growing safety concerns. Late last month, police said a man was hit and injured during a Black Unity children's march in Eugene. The driver left the scene but was later arrested. Then last weekend in Seattle, investigators said a driver hit two protesters walking on Interstate 5. One of them died. Volunteers at Tuesday’s protest didn’t want to see that happen there.
“What we're doing, we're not blocking traffic, but we are letting traffic know of things ahead," said Yeti. "If they want to divert they can and if they want to wait, they can do that, too."